Friday 23 May 2014

Röyksopp & Robyn - Do It Again

‘Do It Again’ is, of course, not the first time these two Nordic musical giants have collaborated.  Amongst others, Robyn provided vocals for Röyksopp’s The Girl And The Robot, whilst in return they produced her track None of Dem.  This new mini-album (accompanied by a tour) is a much moodier, and heavily dance-influenced set of five songs than we’re used to.

Is it what we want from a Robyn album?  It’s been four years since her phenomenal ‘Body Talk’ and whilst that album had a strong dance influence, it’s her melancholic pop anthems that fans revere.

Equally, is this what we want from a Röyksopp album?  The Norwegian duo shot to fame with their debut ‘Melody AM’ (from way back in 2001), and since then they’ve continued to develop their playful upbeat and melodic dance music.   

‘Do It Again’ isn’t quite the best of both worlds.

Opener Monument sets the tone: ten minutes of mesmeric downbeat synths, breathy woodwind and Robyn declaring “I will let this monument, represent a moment of my life”.  Hopefully it won’t be representative of her next solo album.  It’s followed by Sayit, a rave track of bubbling alien synths that you wish Robyn would sing rather than say.  A melody at all would be preferable.

Later on, though, things pick up.  The space age ballad Every Little Thing features a rumbling bass hook beneath Robyn’s desperate “Every little thing I say, everything little thing I do, you should know by now, it’s for you” – typical of her mournful lyrics, but here in a more sombre setting.  The album then closes with Inside The Idle Hour Club, a cinematic instrumental that gradually layers up a chilling concoction of electronic melodies, a yawning bass line and warm strings.  It might not have the immediacy of their best work, but as atmospheric background music this is expertly produced and sounds beautiful.

Nestled in the centre, however, is an incredible pop song that’s up there with the best of both Robyn and Röyksopp’s material (and the main reason for the review score below).  It’s telling, too, that the most successful track of the album is the one that features Robyn most heavily.  The pounding dance rhythms fused with sad lyrics are pure Robyn (“don’t care what they say, it hurts so good”, “we should not be friends, we’ll just do it again”), whilst the production is Röyksopp at their slick best.  The brilliance of this track just highlights how as a whole the mini-album is in desperate need of some hooks.  Instead ‘Do It Again’ is more representative of the potential of this collaboration rather than a great listen in and of itself.  Its title track, however, remains an essential listen – let’s hope they can do that again.


Listen: 'Do It Again' is released on 26th May.